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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  February 15, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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should all understand that time elapsing in the race so far has not had an affect on the candidate of mitt romney. something to watch. i'm just saying. that does it for us tonight. now it is time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. stay tuned for that. >> mitt romney is the most liberal republican who has ever gotten this far in a presidential campaign. rick santorum is the most conservative republican who's ever run for president. so why is this such a hard choice for republicans? >> rick santorum isn't just gaining. he's now leading. >> in three of the national polls he snuck ahead of mitt romney. >> the fourth is a dead heat. >> that rick santorum the guy in the sweater vest. >> don't pay attention to national polls. >> voters want to hear a message and connect. >> i hope you have been
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listening to our message. >> let's mandate that every insurance policy covers toothpaste and deodorant. that might be a good idea, cover deodorant. >> i don't want to make peoples lives better by giving them someone else's money. >> they are the same people that cling to their guns and bibles. thank god they do. >> who has the best chance of beating barack obama, santorum. >> is he going to give mitt romney a run for his money? >> mitt romney is feeling the pressure right now. >> could it all come down to michigan. >> i think it will be a close race. >> santorum knows what he is doing. >> he's authentic. he's not playing a regular guy. >> conservatism is alive and well. >> we could give you a dozen reasons why santorum could not be elected. >> he is more like us than mitt romney. >> his comments about contraception.
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>> i'm rick santorum and i approved this message. >> okay. now we will find out how conservative the republican party really is. that is what the republican presidential primary is going to tell us. we are now down to two republican candidates whose records could not be more different. mitt romney is the most liberal republican who has ever run for president. ever. no other republican ever helped to create a universal health care coverage system which has already done a more thorough job of providing health insurance coverage for people in massachusetts than the obama national health care law ever will do. rick santorum, on the other hand, has always been faithful to the most important conservative principals. he has voted against every tax increase put before him in the house of representatives and the
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senate. he is against every abortion ever performed in human history. he doesn't soften on abortion in cases of rape or incest. he doesn't think house republicans are conservative enough on cutting social security and dismantling medicare. rick santorum's policy positions are not only far more consistently conservative than newt gingrich's ever were, rick santorum is way, way more conservative than ronald reagan ever dreamed of being. ronald reagan raised taxes repeatedly, as governor of california. he also raised taxes, when necessary,ing as president of the united states. something rick santorum has convincingly pledged to never do. there is no room for doubt whose nominations for the supreme court would be more conservative, mitt romney's or rick santorum's. and republican voters know.
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this a "new york times" cbs poll out today asked republican voters which candidate would have policies that would be quote very different from president obama? 59% said rick santorum would be very different from president obama. only 36% of voters said mitt romney would be very different from president obama. even though the santorum campaign has been wildly outspent by the romney campaign, rick santorum now has the lead in two new national polls of republican primary voters because those voters know rick santorum is more conservative than mitt romney. but he doesn't have a big lead. in the "new york times" cbs poll, santorum has 30% and romney has 27%. ron paul down 0 to 12%, gingrich 10%. in the in another paul santorum
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34%, romney 32% and paul 16%. if the republicans really want the conservative, why isn't santorum at 50% and mitt romney at 25%? it is certainly isn't electability, not anymore. in the new cnn poll santorum is running virtually identical as romney does against president obama. president obama beats romney 51 to 46. and the president beats santorum 52 to 45%. why should this be a tough choice for a party that says it prizes conservatism above all else? joining me is alice stewart, national press secretary for rick santorum's campaign. >> i don't know why i am heed here. you pled my case. you said that rick is the conservative candidate. >> the official position of the show is anybody but romney. i share that view with the
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majority of republican voters. but possibly for a different reason. i think some will have the same reason i do and we will get to that before we finish talking. i'm wondering if you and the santorum campaign and republicans generally in elected office have kind of overestimated the conservatism of the republican voter and that is one of the reasons why mitt romney is doing as well as he is. i want to consider some elements of polling information we have here. for example, 56% of republicans opposed the medicare vouchers in the ryan plan according to an abc news poll last year. that indicates, right there, that on medicare republican voters, the majority of them, are more liberal than the santorum side of the party, let's call it. 55% of republicans oppose the idea that social security is unsustainable and needs to be overhauled. 43% of republicans, a minority,
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but still a substantial amount, 43% of republicans support raising taxes on millionaires. so, alice, i'm trying to get at what is really happening in the republican party. when you look at views like that, that actually helps make a little more sense of these polls of why romney has done as well as he has. >> the fact of the matter is that romney has been running for president the past five to six years ever since 2008. he has a financial advantage over the other candidates. at the end of the day all of these presidential primaries are marathons, not sprints. it is not who's the first out of the gate but who has the staying power. what rick santorum has been doing ever since he started to drive around by himself throughout iowa, new hampshire and south carolina is conveying his message as a social conservative on the fiscal issues and the social issues that are important to the people of this party. he's slowly, but surely, one
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person at a time, convincing them that he is the conservative in this race. a lot of people know who mitt romney is. he's got nice ads up on television in many of the states and a nice interrouge of people who travel with him. people know who he is. but people are looking at his record and see what you outlined in the open. he's the most liberal candidate in the race and not someone who will truly represent the conservative values of the republican party. he's the original author of obama care with romney care in massachusetts. that is the spring board for obama care. he agrees with obama on several key issues that people in our party don't agree with. that is cap and trade and the wall street bailout. and as i said obama care. he cannot go toe-to-toe with president obama because he held the same views on those issues and we have rick santorum who is opposed to obama care, vowed to
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repeal obama care. against the wall street bailout and certainly not in favor of cap and trade. he's a very fiscal conservative. he was one of the gang of seven who fought the excessive taxpayer abuses as a member of congress. he was one the media referred to him as the tea party guy before there was a tea party. he's been a member of washington, but fought against the wasteful spending. he's worked hard when he was in congress to institute a balanced budget amendment and worked hard on cut canning spending and did away with the free lunches and meals and hair cuts for members of congress. while he was there, he was doing everything he could to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars and cut wasteful spending and he wants to continue to do that, this time from the white house. >> alice, i want to give you credit, where credit is due and point out to the audience that unlike me you are working without a teleprompter. that was all off the top of the
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head. that se the single most important guest rift. >> i appreciate you letting me get it in without interrupting. >> we have polling information to indicate that even on the most controversial issue of last week, 41% of republicans support president obama's compromise that he reached last week on requiring insurance providers of religious affiliated institutions to be in some way involved in covering birth control. rick santorum obviously completely opposed to any of that. i don't want to get in to wrestling that down. here's where i want to get to. there's a reason why i really now do, very much, want to see rick santorum get the nomination, because i want to see this debate. i want to see the debate that you want to see, which is that debate between conservative
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america and president obama's vision of where to go in america, which i will not call liberal. i know you think it is liberal but i think there are plenty degrees of liberalism to the left of him within our politics. whatever we want to label those things, i want to see that debate. the debate between president obama and mitt romney is the debate between president obama and an empty suit who's willing to make up anything to get himself through that debate. rick santorum is the real thing. i want to see those two governing philosophies taken to a referendum in this country in november. so, that's my point. i think that is -- you would argue that, too. i think you would also argue that of course the conservative view will win. >> no doubt. the focus of that debate, when rick santorum goes against barack obama is that we don't need anymore government intervention in our lives. in fact, we need to pull back on what we have. first and foremost, obama care
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and that's what rick will do when he gets in to the white house. he will do everything he can to repeal obama care. but more than that, you mentioned the contraceptive, that is another infridgement the government has on religious liberties and rick will stand firm on religious liberties. he is a man of great faith. it is very important to him. it is very important to rick santorum. >> i think all of the polling data indicates that rick santorum is way to the right of where the country is. if we have that debate of rick santorum's america versus barack obama's america, barack obama's america is going to win in a big way. but in order to -- >> i disagree. >> santorum has to get the nomination and i want to help in any way i possibly can. tell your candidate, that he can come on this show anytime he wants, and i promise him, i will lob him the easiest anti-romney
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softballs that anyone has ever thrown at him for as long as he wants to stay here because i want see him debating real american conservativism on that stage. >> we have you on record. if you want to help, write a $2400 check. >> the policy here does not allow me to contribute. >> you offered to help. >> softballs i can do. i can do them here for rick santorum. >> alice stewart, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. joining me is the huffington post and msnbc political analyst, no softballs for you, howard. hard ones coming at you here. i want to the look at mitt romney this morning on fox and friends. there's a beauty to this video. the first time he got stuck having to watch what's happening out this in the public perception of his attack ads. let's look at this. >> romney and his super pac spent $20 million attacking
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federal republicans. why? because romney's trying to hide from his big government romney care and his support for job killing cap and trade. and in the end, romney's ugly attacks are going to backfire. >> you know, that's the nature of politics, which is that you always accuse the other guy of what you have done yourself. my campaign hasn't run any negative ads against rick santorum. his campaign ran attack ads against me. i am not saying we won't go after the guy but he's been going after me as the ad suggests. >> the perfect demonstration of the problem being mitt romney. the world knows that the biggest super pac out this has been running relentless attack ads against whoever rises against mitt romney and for him to sit there and say with his laughing face we don't do that, what we are accused of in the ad it just makes it worse for him, doesn't it? >> yeah. if he admitted it on the air
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that he was coordinating that would be a problem. of course everybody in the world knows the rules are written in such a loose way that the restore our future, super pac supporting mitt romney might as well be. and the whole basis of the romney campaign has been to tear down everybody else around him and to make him the last man standing. to make him the candidate by the process of elimination. he knows that. everybody knows it. >> howard, the romney campaign is now struggling. they are struggling with something that is almost impossible to fix in politics. that is romney's personal unpopularity rating. he has an unfavorable rating above 50%, which is just the, political arhythmics say you can't win with that. santorum is in the 30s which is normal range for politicians, 38%. how does romney go forward with
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a majority of the american people in a poll basically not liking him? >> well, lawrence, i have been trying to figure out whether any nonincumbent party nominee has ever gone in to a general, has every won the nomination and gone in to a general election with unfaves over 50%. it is possible that hubert humphrey in 1968 is one who was over 50%. >> but a sitting vice president. >> but a sitting vice president but extremely unpopular and we know what happened there. maybe in some corners governor mcgov everyone, maybe bob dole in '96 but i don't recall specifically that anyone has won the nomination and gone in to a general election with an over 50% unfavorable rating. >> there are some things in politics that are simple. this is one of them. it is the reason i bet against
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hillary clinton last time around. she had an unfavor able of over 50 and i have no experience of anyone overcoming that in one of these campaigns. howard fineman, thank you for joining us. my interview with ellie bezell and why he asked mitt romney to tell the mormon church to top trying to baptize jews. this story is too strange toex plain in this little space. you have to stay with us to see it next. in the "rewrite" the asian actress who i called out last week for her partition passion in the most vile political tv ad of the year now realizes her mistake nmplts the spotlight tonight, the president of the united states and i have a new favorite basketball player. that's right linsanity comes to the last word. [ leanne ] appliance park has been here since the early 50s.
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against mitt romney and it's interesting and, well, you decide. they are both -- mitt romney and rick santorum are against gay marriage. really? against gay marriage? i tell you the problem with this is they would make such a cute couple. that's the problem. wouldn't they? >> you know when i grow up, i'm going to own my own restaurant. i want to be a volunteer firefighter. when i grow up, i want to write a novel. i want to go on a road trip.
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the romney campaign woke up to a "washington post" headline that cannot be countered by a romney super pac attack ad. the headline said elie wieseleid calls on mitt romney to make mormon church stop proxy baptisms of jews. that's right. the mormon church baptizes jews against their will and without their knowledge after they are dead. the mormon church also baptizes people of many other religions after death and without their knowledge. a spokesman for the mormon church told us an e-mail today the foundation of the doctrine comes from latter day revelation through joseph smith, who was the founder of the church -- by standing in as proxy for someone
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who has died, often one of his or her own ancestors, a church member may be baptized on behalf of that deceased person in latter day saint belief, a person who has died retains the right to make choices in the next life and acceptance of the bap advertise mall rite opens the way to continued progress. baptisms for the dead are performed only in temples. the mormon church believes only mormons can enjoy the full benefits of heaven. so, they have over the years been performing baptisms for the dead. we don't have time to get in to the mormon description of heaven but it is unlike any description of heaven in any other religion. members of other religions have strong feelings about mormon baptisms of the dead. earlier tonight, elie wieseleid holocaust survivor and the
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founder of the elie wieseleid foundation for humanity told me of how he learned about the mormon practice. >> it began much before, a few queers ago. two friends of mine, one of them a holocaust who survivor who was together with me in auschwitz, we learned about a procedure in the mormon church. i think 600,000, 650,000 dead jews with converted posthumously. so we began to protest. it took years and they stopped it. >> this week, a researcher found elie wieseleid's name on a list of people to be baptized after their death. >> in my first interview, i said, look, he is a mormon and i respect all religions.
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how come he hasn't spoken up? i'm sure he is not involved in that. but nevertheless, the moment he heard about this, he should have spoken up because he's running for the presidency of the united states, which means it's too serious an issue for him to not speak up. >> the romney campaign has referred all questions on this to the mormon church. over the years mormons baptized an untold number of dead people including anne frank, adolf hitler, josef stalin. various presidents of the united states and more recently barack obama's mother. elie wieseleid told me today that he got a call from a mormon official who apologized and told him this will not happen again, at least to elie wieseleid's family. >> my family's name all together for all the time to come. but really, to put us in the
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same category as stalin and hitler -- >> joining me is now is the woman who uncovered the information that sparked the controversy. a former member of the mormon church helen radke. thank you for joining us tonight. >> my pleasure. thank you for inviting me. >> was elie wieseleid's understanding that an ending of this practice, at least in regards to holocaust surviving jews had been achieved with the mormon church, but you seem to have found information indicating that at least to some extent the process was still going on. >> yes. i've been tracking records for holocaust jews in mormon databases since around august 1999. that was roughly four years after the '95 agreement. i have never seen -- i've never seen records that did not
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reflect jewish holocaust victims. in other words the practice never stopped. definitely not after the '95 agreement and still hasn't stopped after the second pact, the 2010 agreement between mormons and jews. it didn't stop after that either. it's still ongoing. >> this kind of baptism, it is not limited in any way to jews. it is done for all sorts of people all over the world. >> yes. >> without any limitation. for some people that is the problem. they don't want the mormon church to be doing this in any way even if they don't believe in the rituals the mormon church is doing. they want the mormon church to stay away from anything involving their dead relatives. >> yes. that's correct. members who submit names, the mormons who submit names for the
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proxy work in mormon temples, they are told, they are instructed not to put in names of celebrities in lists that are not approved like jewish holcomb kaus victim s /* /- -- holocaust lists. but there are a search percentage of mormons that do not listen. they want to do names. it doesn't matter how many times they are told they will do this. the other problem connected with that is there were many mormons who were submitting jewish holocaust names over a long period of time. i do not know if any of these mormons were reprimanded. it is only when the elie wieseleid records, when i made them public and gave them to the center a few days ago that the lds church spokes people made a big to do about reprimanding the
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mormon submitter. they have never done that before, and yet i have seen thousands of names for jewish holocaust victims in mormon databases and submitters, this was no indication or no word from the church that they had disciplined these people who had broken the rules. >> helen wrath radkey thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> we have have an open invitation for the mormon officials to come to respond on this or anything we discuss on the show that involves their concerns. coming up in the spotlight, how jeremy lin got the president's attention and the rest of the country's. today is gonna be an important day for us.
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in the "rewrite" after a week of pressure that began on this show, the actress who appeared in the hateful political ad in michigan has finally apologized. and jeremy lin cannot be stopped. in fact he will soon take over this show, or at least one segment of it. and later, a minnesota mother whose son took his own life after being bullied for being gay. [ male announcer ] the inspiring story
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president and the two republican front runners do much of your dirty work for you by destroying each other every day. it frees up an awful lot of time to watch nba highlights. >> we were speaking about jeremy
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lin on marine one as we flew here to andrews air force base this morning. if anyone caught the highlights from last night they were pretty breathtaking. a great story and the president was saying as much this morning. it's obviously terrific for the new york knicks, but it's the kind of sports story that transcends the sport itself. and yes, he's very empressed and fully up to speed. i know he's watched lin play already and seen the highlights from last night's game. >> here's the last second heroism the president was talking about today on marine 1. >> lin puts it up. jeremy lin from downtown and the knicks take the lead. >> we just clamped it down in the fourth quarter. we couldn't get it to stop.
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>> it has for over a week been inpossible to live in this country and not know about linsanity. i am the proof of that. i consume absolutely no sports news whatsoever. not voluntarily any way. when america's newest sports phenomenon jeremy lin is on the cover of every newspaper i pick up in new york -- you get those? you see those? new york post. yeah, there you go. it's impossible to avoid this story. it's impossible to avoid i have found the magical pull of this story. joining me now brian chew who covered the lakers and met jeremy lin in 2008 while reporting for the san francisco kronal kl and the executive producer of the rachel maddow show and former harvard athlete bill wolf. >> that's true. >> do we have brian's sound? we have a sound problem for
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brian but at least we have him on camera so his mother got to see him and i hope the sound will work. >> also brian chu wrote an excellent piece about jeremy lin that i read today. >> i may read it if we can't get sound. >> it is outstanding. >> you have the results of linsanity breaking news. >> the knicks won. >> which is no longer breaking news. >> they didn't use to win ever and now they are winning. >> 150 point sghs he had ten points and 13 assists. >> he didn't need to because it was a blowout. i think it was sacramento in town. sacramento is terrible. they blew them out. he only played 25, 26 minutes. >> they rested the man. >> yes, sportsmanship. >> brian is here and he's written eloquently about what this means as a phenomenon and cultural phenomenon for asian americans. he said, in fact, he said i and
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other asian americans are living vicariously through his success as a knicks. he is one of us and i hope we can get brian to talk more about that. you and i as harvard americans are living vicariously through jeremy lin. you, sir, were a varsity harvard athlete. >> that's true. >> in the grueling sport of. >> water polo. >> oh. all right. >> i, like jeremy lin i was not drafted by the pros. >> i played the american sport of baseball, but i did not make it to the varsity. i just played freshman baseball. i was afraid to attempt to make the varsity. that's one of the things that caught me is the harvard element of this because we know how unlikely it is to go from harvard college to a professional sport. the world knows it, in fact. >> unless by professional sport you mean investment banking,
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screen writing. we're the best at that. the quarterback of the buffalo bills is a harvard man. matt burke, an offensive lineman, a long time in the nfl, a harvard man and there's some great harvard hockey players who went pro but typically no it is not exactly a pro sports factory. >> do we have bryan chu yet on sound? we don't. no word from the control room. >> sorry. >> he's the first asian-american -- what is his first miss in the nba. >> he might be the first taiwanese american. not the first asian. >> we have bryan on the phone. we are going to go to the phone. we have you. bryan, tell us what place jeremy has in both your american -- asian-american cultural history and in the nba. >> he's an inspiration.
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you have all of the young athletes to dream to play in the nba and myself growing up playing basketball there is a ton of support among the asian-americans and to have him to continue to believe even though when he was young he would hear i'm too short 0 and too small. you have someone who believes in himself and had the support of his parents and was able to take it to the next level to get to the point where he basically went undrafted, unnoticed, bounced from team to team and the fact that that he is able to lift the asian-american community, not just the chinese, taiwanese, filipino, korean, everyone else look up to him. it's an amazing story. >> do you think he had trouble getting noticed and getting credit because he's asian? >> you know, i asked him the same question because he was the northern california division two player of the year in high school and he took his team though state championship. i asked him that question in 2008 whether or not that played
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a role in the reason why he didn't get a division scholarship and he chuckled and said, what do you think? >> he was playing right under stanford's, should have been watchful eye. he got away to harvard. harvard didn't have the highest hopes for him as one of the harvard coaches was quoted in the "new york times" saying, if i told any of the guys on the team, this is the harvard team, if i told any of the guys on the team that jeremy will someday play in the nba none of them would have believed that and he was great harvard. >> the thing is i first met him and first saw him up close and personal in 2008. he didn't have a jumper but what he did have is that will, the drive to want to be the best. you would see him dive on the court. he went after it. he had the entire mentality whether he wanted to be the best. he would play any pickup game. he asked if i wanted to go to
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the gym to shoot hoops if you have someone who is willing to put their heart and soul in to it and go through everything he has had racist remarks while playing in the ivy league and have that inner strength and deflect all of that it is a great story. >> bryan chu, thank you very much for your invaluable insight tonight and bill wolff who had an amazing jump shot in water polo. thank you very much. >> always an honor. >> thank you for having me. >> coming up the young actress and former congressman pete hofstra the's campaign ad apologized for her involvement. that is next in the "rewrite." imagine zero pollutants in our environment. or zero dependency on foreign oil. ♪ this is why we at nissan built a car inspired by zero.
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and it's something that we're extremely proud of. you see someone who is saved because of this technology, you know that the things that you do in your life, matter. if i did have an opportunity to meet a cancer survivor, i'm sure i could take something positive away from that. [ jocelyn ] my name is jocelyn, and i'm a cancer survivor. [ mimi ] i had cancer. i have no evidence of disease now. [ erica ] i would love to meet the people that made the machines. i had such an amazing group of doctors and nurses, it would just make such a complete picture of why i'm sitting here today. ♪ [ herb ] from the moment we walked in the front door, just to see me -- not as a cancer patient, but as a person that had been helped by their work. i was just blown away. life's been good to me. i feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world. ♪ but we couldn't simply repeat history. we had to create it.
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introducing the 2013 lexus gs, with leading-edge safety technology, like available blind spot monitor... [ tires screech ] ...night view... and heads-up display. [ engine revving ] the all-new 2013 lexus gs. there's no going back. . last week in this space i started a search for someone we wanted to have on the show but couldn't find. in tonight's "rewrite" we put out an apb today for this actress. >> thank you borrow more and more from us. your economy get very weak. ours get very good. we take your jobs.
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>> i wanted to the ask the actress why she did that ad for pete hoekstra. i wanted to ask if she regretted it. since it met with unanimous disapproval. i wanted to ask her to apologize for participating in an ad based on racial stereotyping and we got close to her in the last few days. the last word staff spoem spoke to people close to her at various times on the phone but that's as close as we got until today when lisa chan issued this apology ji on her facebook page. i'm deeply story sorry for the character i portrayed brought to my communities. as a recent college grad who spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice this role is not, in any way, representative of who i am. it was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that over time i hope can be forgiven. i feel horrible about my
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participation and i'm determined to resolve my actions. lisa chan is 21 years old. she's a graduate of uc berkeley, one of the most distinguished institutions of higher learning in the world. we can only imagine what she has gone through in the weeks since i singled her out out on national television to address her participation in this ad. i used it to make the more general point that actors should refuse this kind of work. they should take a pledge, i will not play dirty politics. meaning the actor will not play a racial stereotype or tell lies in political advertising. the acting community should simply say, if you are going to make lying, offensive political ads you are going to do it without our help. in her apology lisa chan says "i feel horrible " and i think we know that must be an understatement i think we know this young actress, just trying to get her start, trying to get
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experience in front of the camera has been going through a personal hell in the last week that she never saw coming. and that horrible week for lisa chan turned out to be a horrible week for hoekstra a's campaign. it appeared as a local ad during the super bowl in michigan and since then the opponent has a 14 point lead over hoekstra. and 45% of michigan voters in that poll say they are now less likely to vote for hoekstra specifically because of that ad. the ability to avoid mistakes tells us a lot about a person's character. it shows caution, wisdom, good judgment even those who have all of that still make mistakes, big ones. what you then do about those mistakes gives us another window in to your character. if apologizing is difficult, and it is.
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apologizing is always difficult for all of us, publicly apologizing is infinitely more difficult. the honest public apology has all but disappeared. public apologies always begin with the word if, as in if i offended anyone. this is no if in lisa chan's apology. her words are, i am deeply sorry. i feel horrible about my participation. it was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that over time i hope can be forgiven. lisa chan did the right thing today. i, for one, believe that after she just retaught america what a real apology sounds like, lisa chan deserves to be forgiven. ♪ they see me rollin' ♪ they hatin' ♪ patrolling and tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪ ♪ tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪ ♪ tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪
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federal laws say you can't discriminate against kids because of their race, sex, religion or what country they are from. but our laws say nothing about sexual orientation or gender identity. our federal laws do not protect these kids. lgbt kids are learning it gets better after high school, and it does, but they shouldn't have to wait. >> that's minnesota senator al franken whose bill the student nondiscrimination act would ban discrimination from sexual orientation. after a rash of suicides in a school district made national headlines. this week the district overturned a controversial policy that required teachers to remain neutral on issues of sexual orientation. over the last two years, nine students have committed suicide
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there. four of them after being bullied for being gay. one of those students was justin. he was an openly gay, happy cello player. he was just 15 year old when he took his life in july of 2010. >> joining me is justin's mother who is an advocate for lgbt teens and is working with senator franken's office on legislation. thank you for joining me tonight. i know this is a difficult subject for you. >> thank you. >> tell me what kind of bullying your son was subjected to. the kind of details, the teacher thes were not really able to help him with and discuss with him according to the rule they had at the time and why we need new rules and new legislation here. >> well, one of the hugest events i guess that happened to him was i found out after he died from a close friend of his
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that is 8th grade two boys went up to him in a tunnel and grabbed his genitals and said you like that, don't you and i don't think that anyone saw it happen but a counselor and a friend saw him crying down the hallway and he wouldn't talk to the counselor about it but the next day the counselor called down the friend and asked if she found out what happened and she said, well, you know what happened was things like this happen all the time to gay people but this time it wasn't just mental it was physical. the counselor said, well, thank you so much for telling me. he's been at the top of my worry list. i never got a phone call. >> the school district is in michele bachmann's congressional district. howard stern really tore in to her recently and rick santorum in terms of saying, look, the kind of rhetoric they use this this area is part of what, he believes, licenses, in effect,
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some of this behavior. that there is a trickle down from that rhetoric though kind of behavior. >> oh, definitely. definitely. you see the hate speech going on all over the news, all over the country and it trickles down. how can you have as much hope as you possibly can when you are younger you already don't have things going great for you in school. to hear that you can't get married or that, you know, i remember justin coming home and said that he was told he is going to hell because he was gae gay and i told him that it was not true. but these kids, especially. if they don't have any positive role models that are talked about in for gay history, how are they supposed to know if the only thing they hear in the school is about the holocaust, that gays were killed in the holocaust. >> there was no guidance in the school for teachers that was helpful about how to